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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

Trainee information

Advancing equity in medical education

Our Vision “To provide equitable learning, training and working environments for today’s and tomorrow’s medical workforce in Scotland, celebrating and learning from its diversity”


Equity, diversity and inclusivity

Equity is about creating a fairer society where everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Diversity is recognising and valuing difference in its broadest sense. Inclusivity celebrates individual differences ensuring everyone feels welcome and accepted.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) recognises the value of a diverse NHS Scotland workforce as its greatest asset. We strive to work collaboratively to promote inclusivity and equity in educational and workforce development in order to achieve our vision.

Policies and guidance

NES offers a wealth of information and policies pertaining to equality and diversity.

NES has a duty to identify the equality outcomes they aim to deliver. The Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report summarises the mainstreaming activity and progress towards meeting those equality goals, in addition to highlighting our new equality outcomes.

We report on the diversity profile of our workforce, and how we use this data to deliver equality and diversity.

NES has a systematic process for considering the actual or potential impact of our work on different groups of individuals, known as Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA). We use EQIA to make sure that our staff are treated fairly and that our products and services meet the needs of the diverse people who will use them.

As part of the The Fairer Scotland Duty we also carry out assessments on how we can tackle inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. This is also considered within our Equality Impact Assessments.

NES strives for inclusivity in medical education. This involves an anticipatory and proactive approach that recognises and values diversity, ensuring that the diverse learning needs of individuals are identified and met.

Further information is available on the NES website linked below:


Raising awareness through education and training

NHS Education Scotland (NES) strives to advance equity in education by offering a wealth of resources and training opportunities for trainees and trainers alike.

Ensuring fairness in training for all and reducing Differential Attainment in medical education is one of the key equality outcomes for NES. Differential attainment refers to the gap in attainment levels of different groups of doctors.  Differentials in outcome based on aptitude are appropriate and expected however, differentials due to age, gender, ethnicity or other protected characteristics are unfair. The differences in exam performance and progression of training between international medical graduates (IMGs) and UK graduates (UKGs) is stark and the reasons multifactorial.

Through several diverse areas of work, the Scotland Deanery has demonstrated its commitment to narrowing the gap in differential attainment relating to race and ethnicity and advancing equity and inclusivity in medical education.

Recognising the challenges of integrating into a new country and healthcare system, the Scotland Deanery has established a Scottish International Medical Graduate Induction Day. This aims to provide helpful information to IMG doctors as they transition to life in the UK and a new career within the NHS.

Beyond this, NES facilitates an IMG buddy system and promotes an IMG doctors support network

Other NES initiatives to narrow the gap in Differential Attainment include the Scottish Trainee Enhanced Programme (STEP), which aims to welcome IMG doctors to UK training. This was developed in General Practice and is currently being expanded into Psychiatry.

We bring together IMG doctors with their educational supervisors for a day of shared learning and development. We aim to improve the trainee-trainer working relationship and thus improve outcomes for these doctors, by enhancing understanding of cultural differences and communication skills.

Unconscious Bias describes prejudices we are unaware of. It tends to happen out with our control and is influenced by our background, environment and personal experiences.

As difficult as it may be to admit, it's possible to be unconsciously biased regarding race, gender, age, social class and more.

Through education and training, we can be made aware of these biases and act to control them to ensure they don’t impact negatively on the trainee-trainer relationship, trainee experience and career progression.

If you would like to learn more about Unconcious Bias and how to avoid accidental workplace discrimination, here is a helpful NES powerpoint presentation and website link below:

NES supports the recent launch of a GMC resource on tackling racism in the workplace. The dedicated area brings together current GMC guidance and is focused on supporting those who experience discrimination. It gives advice on how to tackle it, whether personally or as a bystander. It also highlights expectations of employers and medical leaders to foster inclusive cultures, where people feel supported to challenge racism, and signposts to how and where a concern or issue can be raised. This resource is housed in the GMC ethical hub, where you can also find advice about speaking up.



 New initiatives

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is facilitating the development of an Under-Represented Minority Staff Network which, will include doctors in training who are employed by NES, as well as NES staff members. The network will provide support and a safe space for staff to raise concerns. Members will work with key decision makers in identifying strategies to address inequalities. The network will be open to all staff irrespective of their background.  For further information of this network please contact Roussa Demosthenous ( Roussa.Demosthenous@nhs.scot ).

Disability and Long-Term Conditions Network: We are seeking to take steps to strengthen the voice and engagement with our staff who are disabled or have long term conditions. In addition to supporting staff with long term physical health and mental health conditions, we want the network to be relevant and inclusive for people living with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, learning difficulties, AHDH or are on the autism spectrum. Membership and participation is open and a matter of self-definition; if you feel this is a network for you please contact Lynette Grieve ( Lynnette.Grieve@nhs.scot ).

NES LGBT+ Staff Network: While there are has been lots of progress in equality for LGBT+ people over the last few years, LGBT+ doctors in training still describe experiencing prejudice and discrimination from both colleagues and patients. This experience can be isolating and hard to talk about. The newly formed NES LGBG+ staff network aims to connect people who work in NES (including doctors in training and other clinical and non-clinical staff). This new group broadly aims to connect people for support and socialising alongside developing shared work to promote equality for LGBT people within NES and the NHS more broadly. If you’re interested in finding out more please contact Associate Postgraduate Dean for Quality Marie Mathers ( marie.mathers3@nhs.scot ).

The Lead Dean Directors at the Scotland Deanery play a key role in the Advancing Equity in Medical Education (AEME) Group which strives to narrow the gap in differential attainment and promote equity, diversity and inclusivity in medical training for all.

Further resources

This page was last updated on: 14.05.2024 at 13.56